I miss Elmwood!
Seriously, the first time I went to the Elmwood Housing Projects, I knew there was a unique connection. There was something pulling me there to love the children and teenagers in that place. I was overwhelmed with the Father’s heart of love, five years ago when first passing through the Housing Project. As Stacy, Heather, Joel and I did an attempted outreach, passing out freezy pops on a hot summer day, my heart sang. I was overwhelmed with hope for these people.
Sure, I was naive, and had no idea what their daily struggle looked like.
Sure, I was white, they weren’t.
Sure, I came from the north and a totally different culture altogether growing up in the “burbs.”
Sure I had lived in the same house all my years of growing up and had “stability”, which these kids did not.
Sure, I thought I had something to offer.
Sure, I was filled with misconceptions and pride.
I asked the Lord if I ever came back to Cairo to live (which was TOTALLY NOT ON MY RADAR at that time as I was about to live in S. Minneapolis for a year), could I have a ministry at Elmwood. He heard and answered that heart cry.
A year after the freezy pop outreach…
I find myself living in Cairo. The very place I was thanking my God for NOT sending me the year before during my internship with GreaterWorks. Stacy, Heather, Joel and I lived in South Minneapolis and worked in the main office for YouthWorks. Great experience, that’s a story for another day.
The Two Rivers Team decides to split up into teams of two and divide up the town and hit the streets for a prayer walk – EVERY WEDNESDAY! Yea, this was certainly a lesson in perseverance as many days we (or some on the team) didn’t want to go out. Evangelism and outreach is my thing. God just built it in me. I usually don’t get too nervous or afraid, I just love to go out and talk to people about Jesus and pray for them. I’m no expert and I have a lot to learn, but I am pretty much addicted to this stuff. When I see God touching people and ministering to them, this little girl in me gets all excited and giddy. I can’t help it. Guess where me and my partner are assigned?
That’s right, Elmwood!
We would knock on doors asking people if they needed prayer for anything. You would have been shocked and pleasantly surprised by the response of these community members. I mean, here we are, two white girls from up north with a funny accent, asking people who we have NEVER met if we can pray with them. The response, many received prayer right there in their doorway, many welcomed us in their homes! This was quite the opposite response to some other community members who shared the same skin color, were “well to do”, and had their “own church”. I’m not upset about it, just reflecting on how interesting things work out sometimes. We did the prayer walk thing for about a year or more (in that structure).
Four years after the freezy pop outreach…
I am getting my homeroom class started for the day (Jr. High Math), and one of my boys blurts out…”I remember you coming to Elmwood Ms.C! I remember you walking around with a cooler filled with freezy pops. You were with some other people, walking around and talking to the kids at Elmwood.” I had to hold back the tears as we recounted that day, five years ago. Here, this student remembered us coming through the projects, with a feeble attempt at loving our “neighbor”. And here I am teaching this student. Seriously, I never thought I would even be in Cairo over a year, and I certainly never thought I would teach in this town (or any town for that matter).
WOW! God is so GOOD!
Just yesterday some of us ventured back into Elmwood. It had been a while, since our summer outreach program, summer meal program, children’s ministry, and even worship ministry at Elmwood. It’s really been a while since we have done some ministry up in that place. You see, Elmwood is probably on my top five places in Cairo. It’s not just a place for ministry. It’s a place where I receive too! I have friends that are prayer warriors there that will lift one up for me.
Jesse has been doing some outreach on his own lately. Seriously, this brother is steadfast. He was going out to different places in town on his own, just trying to win some by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s probably hard to go out as a brother. You approach ladies, and they wonder why you are talking to them…it could get funny. You approach the men…they wonder why you are talking to them…it could get funny. See what I’m saying. I believe it is MUCH better to go out in twos, and male/female groups are the best for reaching both men and women. Just my opinion.
We hit up Elmwood again. This time it was Jesse, Stacy and myself. IT was good stuff. I was able to reconnect with a couple parents (of my Jr. High students) and some old friends. I spent most of my time with Phylis. She’s one of the warriors I was telling you about. A Grandma who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. I’ll have to write a whole blog about this amazing woman of God. Stacy and Jesse played with some children and were also able to encourage an older gentleman at Elmwood.
God, continue to bless the families in Elmwood and raise up a Spirit of Praise in that place. I believe that PRAISE will be their weapon in fighting the enemy. Protect them, provide for them, love them. Open their eyes to who YOU are JESUS!